Most full-time ITD employees will find their paychecks a
little heavier or their direct deposit account a little
healthier on Feb. 13, thanks to a new merit increase
program that went into effect this week.
Breaking from recent practices, the transportation board
voted in December to allocate approximately $2 million in
salary savings from 2003 into merit increases, recognizing
that ITD employees have labored more than two years without
The merit increases, ranging from 1 to 4 percent, went into
effect this pay period, which began Sunday. Sue Simmons, Administrative
Services, told the transportation board Wednesday that 1,804
employees received increases ranging from 1 to 4 percent,
based on performance reviews. The minimum any employee received,
she said, was 25 cents per hour.
In all, 1,759 permanent full-time employees and 45 temporary
or part-time employees received the increases. Part-time employees
who have worked for ITD at least two years were included in
the merit increase package.
Simmons and the board complimented ITDs Human Resources
office for working so quickly to facilitate the merit increase
a phenomenal effort considering the number of employees
covered and the short time to accomplish it.
Agencies across Idaho state government are reporting the
exodus of employees because of a 2 1/2-year drought in pay
increases, Simmons added. Gov. Dirk Kempthorne included in
his budget proposal to the Legislature a 2 percent increase
for salaries of state employees. If increases are approved,
they would be distributed in July to ITD employees based on
a formula similar to the merit increases.
The transportation board approved the merit increases last
month because of increased productivity at a time of diminishing
resources. ITD employees implemented more than 60 efficiency
measures that produced $4.2 million in one-time savings and
$1.6 million in ongoing savings to the state the past few
years. Yet, the last pay increase came on July 1, 2001.
Higher medical costs have eroded salaries by 6 percent over
the last six years, according to a report to the board.
The board also authorized the merit increases because of
the difficulty ITD is experiencing in recruiting and retaining
high-quality employees. Prevailing salaries in the private
sector are significantly higher than state wages and have
enticed ITD employees away from public service.
ITD has lost 191 of its 458 maintenance employees the last
five years, a decline of 42 percent.
The merit increase should help alleviate some of that exodus
and enable ITD to retain more of its best employees.